December 2010 Archives

Texas Wildfire

Chapter 33

By Dwayne MacInnes

Mayor Warren Locke and Officer Amanda Hughes walked hand in hand through the ruins of Fort Hood. If one were to look at the military base from the air, it looked like one giant pockmarked debris field. There was not a building undamaged and several burned out tanks, cars, helicopters, and trucks littered the grounds.

However, the base was still firmly within the United States Army's hands. All personnel, not on guard duty, were hunkered within the underground bunkers around the perimeter. For every day since they seceded, the Texans had fired artillery rounds and missiles into the base. They also made a few direct attacks -- all to no avail. LTG Groves refused to give in to the Texas rabble, and his expertly laid defenses were able to keep even the most fanatical attackers outside the perimeter.

However, today a new turn of events happened. There were no artillery or missile attacks. There were no snipers or suicide bombers. In fact, for the first time in months, one could hear the sounds of birds singing in the morning air.

The only other noise was that of tanks, U.S. tanks, rumbling into the base which were followed by trucks and other vehicles. Soldiers were also marching in through the battered gates in a seemingly endless number.

Locke knew that the tide of the siege was starting to shift when an element of Airborne Rangers parachuted in the previous night. A night drop was a dangerous thing; however, from the news Locke received, these drops were going on all over Texas.

When the sun rose in the morning, the rebels had pulled out of their defenses and by all accounts had left Killeen. Many had left their arms, uniforms, and vehicles strewn across the broken landscape.

Locke and Hughes, both wearing borrowed military fatigues, walked over toward General Groves who was speaking to another general. Groves noticed the two people approaching him, and he motioned for them to come over.

"These, General Burns, are our lovebirds from Killeen," LTG Groves said as he introduced the two. "They have been a guest here since the whole situation began. Locke here was the mayor of the city and if I remember right, a sworn bachelor."

Mayor Locke smiled, "Well, I guess the stress of combat brings people together. Plus, I owe Amanda my life. She brought me here and managed to get herself shot."

General Burns looked at the young police officer and smiled, "I'm amazed that everyone hasn't been shot here."

"Sir, I was wearing riot gear at the time," Hughes offered.

"So is the war over?" Warren asked.

"We have three different armies sweeping through Texas. Most are experiencing very light resistance. A fourth army in the north has the reb army pretty much tied down," stated Burns.

General Burns looked around at the wreckage strewn across the base. He noticed a lot of tanks and military vehicles from the previous century blackened and burned dotting the landscape.

"What the hell!" he said. "It looks like the rebs emptied every museum to arm their army."

LTG Groves laughed, "That is exactly what they did."

* * * * *

Flash Limbeck frantically looked for some way out of Austin like most of the military and civilians. The streets were more chaotic than when the riots took place a couple of weeks before. Cars were stuck in gridlock, people were carrying what few possessions they could carry, and a few fights were breaking out.

Limbeck knew that when the United States military entered into the city they would begin looking for collaborators. Being an escaped prisoner from the United States as well as a propaganda tool (many were calling him Texas Rose) he would be lucky if he was not shot on sight. Limbeck did not know where he would go, but he knew he could not stay in Austin.

Rumor had it that President Tucker had fled earlier in the day leaving his staff behind. What little military and law enforcement that remained in the city were completely overwhelmed with the task of restoring order in Austin. Fires broke out around the city and this time they were burning unchecked.

A man ran into Limbeck, and in the process, lost an armload loot. He had rings of gold, bracelets of silver, and pearl necklaces. The man had obviously looted a jewelry store.

"Watch where you are going!" yelled the man as he scrambled to pick up his ill-gotten gains.

Horns, shouts, and gunfire punctuated the air as the social order of Austin continued to break down. A man ran into the crowded streets with panic plastered on his face. Another man soon followed and proceeded to gun the first man down in front of everyone.

"Dirty bastard!" the gunman shouted. "He tried to steal my suitcase."

The gunman then realized that he was no longer carrying his suitcase and must have dropped it in the chase. The man spun around and tried to retrace his steps as he disappeared into the crowd of humanity jostling on the sidewalk.

Flash had to get off the street. It was more dangerous out here than in a building. Even with the risks of fire, Limbeck realized he prefered the relative safety of some department store or apartment building to the anarchy in the streets.

Flash ducked into a recently looted electronics store. The mesh grating over the windows lay bent on the sidewalk. The shattered glass window offered Flash the means to enter the building.

Limbeck walked into the store. The lights flickered above and revealed empty and overturned shelves. The cash register lay on its side on the floor. The till was empty save the Oil Dollars that remained untouched inside the tray.

Flash cautiously wove his way through the debris and found a back door. Limbeck tried the knob. It turned freely in his hand and the door opened to reveal a set of stairs leading down into a basement.

As Limbeck descended the stairs, he realized the cacophony of the streets receded. He flipped a light switch and a single light above offered him some illumination. The basement had not escaped the notice of the looters. Again, overturned shelves and broken electronics littered the floor.

There was a door in the far wall of the basement. Limbeck crawled over the broken shelving and made his way to the door. He tried the knob, but it did not turn. Flash noticed the keyhole in the door. He tried the knob again this time shaking the door as if he could unlock it with force.

"Go away!" shouted a voice from the other side of the door.

"You have to let me in," pleaded Limbeck.

Two gunshots burst through the wooden door and the bullets penetrated Limbeck's chest. As Flash slumped onto the floor trying futilely to staunch his spurting blood the voice on the other side of door replied, "The hell I do!"

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Chapter Forty-Eight

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The refugees kept streaming across into Princess Angelina's kingdom. The sons of King Thorbjorn were ravaging Lakeland. It was taking a great toll on the citizenry of their country. Further, all the citizens heard of the hospitality offered by the Princess. Instead of being ravaged by war, they grabbed their valuables and headed south. The situation was becoming a problem.

Not to mention, the civil war in Lakeland was destroying the crops. The soldiers would trample on the young plants. Great battles occurred on the prosperous fields. The carnage of the battle would end up destroying young crops. If the battle did not destroy the food, one brother would burn a field to take it away from another brother. Famine was going to be a real problem in Lakeland. Everyone was afraid of the upcoming food shortage. Thus, even more people headed south.

With the growing number of people coming to her kingdom, the Princess even asked her father to provide whatever resources he could spare. He sent his hunters out to bring in whatever game they could to feed the refugees. King Jonathan would do whatever his daughter asked. Thus, the food began flowing from Calmondak.

However, this compounded the problem. The more food available, the more the people would come. The more people, the larger the presence appeared on the boarder. Thus, the more people, the more concerned Lakeland became of the buildup. The Princess would not be able to have such a large population on the boarder without consequences. Nonetheless, she was unwilling to move the refugees farther into the interior where her own people were living.

Hence, the Princess spent a lot of time looking for places to put the refugees. She inquired with King Jonathan, but he could not take them. There was a treaty in place between Lakeland and Calmondak, which forbade the kingdoms from accepting refugees. King Jonathan was reluctant to break the treaty. Thus, Calmondak refused entry to all the refugees that tried to enter. This drove them towards the Princess's kingdom.

Therefore, Princess travelled to the Pirate Peninsula to see if they could take any of the war-weary citizens of Lakeland. She found the same sort of obstacles she had encountered with her previous visit. They would have to gather and vote on what to do. In the mean time, there would be thousands of refugees starving. It did not seem to the Princess that there was enough time.

As the days past, Princess Angelina was struggling with the overwhelming numbers. She wondered what to do to feed them. When visiting her father, she used the google to find out how to catch fish in the rivers. Further, she recruited fishermen while in the peninsula to show her citizens how to catch fish in the gulf. The refugees would need food from any source possible. She thought fish would be a suitable food source. However, the suncar system was not quite adequate to transport all of that food. Something else needed to be used.

She was observing the fishing operation on the main river when she saw something odd. It was a raft floating down the river. She had never seen such a thing. The raft appeared to have gone through a rough time. The river had been rough on the craft, and the raft appeared to be empty.

She ordered her people to pull the raft to shore. It nearly disintegrated when they hooked onto it. Upon the shore, they searched it, and it was as it seemed. There was no one onboard. There was a bit of blood in the rafts box, and it was riddled with holes.

Everyone was amazed that the craft still afloat. They remarked that workmanship was not that great, but it was serviceable. Whomever it belonged to had abandoned it somewhere upriver. From the looks of it, it had smacked some debris in the river. After this incident, it was fortunate to hold together.

The Princess stated that rafts or boats would be of help fishing the river. Further, river transportation could take the food upriver. Since even rough rafts could travel downstream, it would not take much to have them return for more. Thus, it would streamline the delivery of food to where the refugees in need could obtain it. Since the river made it to the gulf, all of the fish could travel in this manner.

Some of her subjects were familiar with river travel. They mentioned ancient riverboat travel. They could use burnable objects to make steam. They seemed to recall that steamboats had long ago disappeared from the river. However, the technology would not be that difficult to replicate. With some experimentation, they could get them going again.

The Princess decided to offer a reward for the best design. There would be several different boats built. Whoever built the most reliable form of transportation would build a fleet of such vessels. This could be a very lucrative proposition. The possibilities for the contract were enormous. Thus, many people began working on designs.

To some of the designers, the Princess noted that perhaps someone could adapt the suncar technology to propel the river traffic. However, solar technology would be dependant on the sun. Thus, they would not be useable at all times. However, she let the participants choose their method.

When the participants were happy with the details of the contest, the Princess ordered some citizens to begin gathering materials to fashion such watercraft. With the gathered materials, several riverboats could be fashioned. They did not have to be in their final state, but they had to be ready quickly. Time was important.

With river traffic reestablished, the Princess could become powerful further up river. She tried not to think about that. However, the warring factions in Lakeland noticed her actions. They were quite concerned. They would not put up with her aggressive moves. They doubled their efforts to end their civil war, so they could then take on Princess Angelina who had a formidable force on the Lakeland border.

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Texas Wildfire

Chapter 34

By Dwayne MacInnes

General Davis was in his command vehicle when he got word that General West of the New Republic of Texas wanted to seek terms for surrender. He immediately called a cease-fire. Within minutes, the constant crack of rifle fire and the deep thud from the artillery and tanks with the resulting explosions came to a sudden end. The silence was almost deafening.

It was less than an hour later when an old Humvee carrying a white flag escorted by a U.S. light armored scout vehicle drove into General Davis's camp. The vehicles stopped short. The U.S. soldiers exited the scout vehicle and stood at-ease until General West with his entourage exited the Humvee.

General West followed the U.S. soldiers toward the command tent where Davis stood in anticipation. The U.S. soldiers stopped at the door as did General West's aides. General Davis extended his hand towards West.

"General if you would join me inside," Davis offered as West returned the handshake.

The two men entered the command building followed by one soldier from each side and the door closed behind them. Inside there was a small folding table with a holographic computer built in. Right now, the computer was off. There were two chairs around the table.

"General," Davis said offering General West the chair opposite of him.

The soldiers from both sides stood off to the side.

"If you do not mind I have been recording the event with the mini-cam," Davis stated motioning to the small camera in the corner of the command tent.

A tech had placed it there only a few minutes before. General West solemnly nodded his head, "Sir, I thank you for your kindness."

"Think nothing of it. So, let's get down to brass tacks."

"First, if I may beg a question," said General West.

Davis nodded his head.

"Is it true that President Tucker and most of his cabinet have been captured?" asked the general.

"Yes, it is. If you need confirmation I can get you a direct line to the president who is currently under guard behind our lines."

"I believe you," West stated. "It is not becoming for two old war dogs like us to lie to each other."

"No, it is not," agreed General Davis.

"Well, sir what are your terms?" West asked General Davis in a matter-of-fact voice.

"President Ramirez has instructed me to be very lenient," General Davis said as he turned on the tabletop computer.

Both parties could read the terms on the holographic screen. "All enlisted personnel in your army are to be paroled. They may return to their homes, but they must surrender their arms accept any personal arms allowed under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. All officers are to face a military tribunal to determine the extent of their role in the rebellion. Most will end up with the same terms as the enlisted personnel."

The two generals continued to read the terms laid-out on the holographic tabletop computer screen. After another hour of haggling over the finer points, General West finally accept the terms offered by General Davis.

The two men stood and shook hands again before they departed the command center.

"Sir," said General West. "I will address my men and we will begin to disarm immediately."

"Thank you, General," Davis replied. "I am glad that this unfortunate event has finally ended."

West turned and saluted Davis, "Unfortunate event indeed. Where did the dialogue end?"

"I don't really know," General Davis replied pensively. "If people were quicker to use dialogue than guns, we could have spared a countless number of lives and an unknown amount of damage."

General West nodded and exited the command tent. His aides stepped in line behind him as they approached the Humvee. One soldier from the United States army started to sing The Yellow Rose of Texas. Soon another joined him and then another until all the assembled United States soldiers joined in. General West with tears in his eyes stopped and saluted the soldiers before he entered the Humvee.

* * * * *

Cobb had made his way to Sante Fe when he heard of the defeat of Texas. He found a secluded alley and broke down in tears. His dreams and the country he loved instantly vanished. Now, at best, he was a drifter -- at worst, a war criminal.

He still had his Colt .45 Peacemaker tucked inside his light jacket. He also had a small amount of plastic explosives that he carried in his leather satchel. Inside were a blasting cap, a timer, and a remote detonator.

After a few minutes, Cobb recovered himself. He looked at his reflection in a dirty window. The face that stared back at him was sunken, sporting a small growth of facial hair, and a goodly amount of dirt. He realized he looked more like a homeless man than a soldier from Texas.

Cobb finger-combed his greasy black hair and put his dirty cowboy hat on his head. The first order of business, Cobb determined, was to clean himself up. He did not have any money -- at least, nothing that would be of use in Santa Fe or any where for that matter. So, he walked around until he located a homeless mission.

Cobb had little problem gaining admittance. He could spin a pretty good tale when he needed to. So before long, the mission accept a Roger A. Pyle into their roster, a recovering alcoholic and roving homeless person. Cobb shared a room with another man, a man that kept to himself, which suited Cobb just fine.

Cobb needed time to think, a job to find, and a plan. Texas may have surrender, but Cobb had not. He knew that he could still deliver one last blow for Texas independence.

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Normally, I am against Christmas songs. However, for this I will make an exception!

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Chapter Forty-Nine

By Douglas E. Gogerty

As a child, Prince William was very interested in archery. He could not get enough of it. He wanted to know everything about it. He even fashioned crude bows and arrows from twigs and branches he found around the castle in which he lived. No one ever thought that this interest would ever lead to anything. The Prince was glad that this would prove wrong.

When the Prince was collecting resources to make his raft, he knew he would need a source of food. Thus, he also collected items for forming arrows as well as a bow. He knew that a strong branch and some sort of string were all that were required to make the bow. However, the arrows were a completely different story.

If the arrows were to fly straight, they had to be straight. Without the proper tools, getting perfectly round and straight wood was a daunting task. There was also the issue of fletching. He would need to get some feathers to make the arrows. The easiest part of making arrows was fashioning a point.

Nevertheless, he found some items and fashioned a workable bow with a small quiver of arrows. Thus, he could hunt game. In fact, he was successful in feeding himself during the construction of the raft. However, while on the raft, he had other concerns besides watching for animals.

The river wound it way south. If he did not work the rudder, he could easily wash ashore. While it was not a lot of trouble to free the raft, it would take time and effort. With the gunfire he heard at his launch, he did not wish to waste that time. Thus, he wanted to spend most of the time moving. That even meant forgoing sleep for long stretches.

Despite his reluctance to stop, he occasionally had to go ashore for things. He was not willing to attempt to hit anything with his makeshift arrows while travelling down the river. Therefore, he would go on land to hunt from time to time. He would also take these opportunities to sleep. Also, he could gather more supplies. He would attempt to accomplish as much as he could during his trips ashore.

During his time off the raft, he had the feeling that someone was close upon him. Perhaps Bjorn reconsidered, and sent some of his allies to hunt the Prince down. Perhaps it was another brother. Then again, the Prince could be imagining the entire thing. Nonetheless, he wanted to keep moving.

Thus, he fell into somewhat of a routine. When he hit land he would attempt to rest, but he would not rest long. After a brief sleep, he would prepare a meal of the game he caught during the previous landing. He would cut up the game and prepare it while he was still on the raft. After the meal, he would go out and hunt. A while later he would take another rest in a cave or in a tree. If he did not get anything during his hunt, he would hunt some more or gather nuts and berries.

This was his routine for several days. He knew he had to be in Princess Angelina's realm, but he still felt someone was following him. However, he believed he managed to keep ahead of whoever they were. Therefore, he kept up with his routine.

By preparing his game on the raft, his passenger compartment was getting messy. There was quite a lot of blood on the box, and it had already attracted animals. He would return from a trip ashore, and find rats chewing on the wood. Sometimes, it was ravens pecking at the box on his raft. There were any number of animals attracted to the animal left-overs.

In fact, he found that the pests made several holes in his box. However, he needed to continue moving. Thus, it would not be prudent to change his ways. Thus, he would attempt to contain the viscera better. If he did a better job, perhaps that would not attract the scavengers as much. Nevertheless, there would always be blood.

If the smell ever got too much for him, he would wash off the raft with some water. After all, there was plenty to be had. However, he was getting used to the smell. He found that it did not bother him much. He wondered how that could be.

One trip ashore, he was resting in a tree. The wind was such that he could smell himself. His eyes teared up. He could not stand it. Now he understood why the smell did not bother him as much. He smelled awful. He realized that he had not bathed in weeks. Thus, he decided he was going to jump into the river.

He found a spot to place his hunting gear, and clothes and all, he dove into the river. While in the river, he stripped. He then carried his clothes towards the shore and beat his clothes against a rock. After ringing them a few times, he set them on a rock to dry.

He waded out deeper, and he swam around in the brisk water. He dove under the water again and again. He began to enjoy the swim. After one particularly long dive, he surfaced and saw one of his brother's men. Fortunately, the soldier did not see Prince William swimming in the water. He must have been too far off. However, the Prince was sure he recognized the man. Quickly and quietly, the Prince swam to shore. He did not want to do it, but he dressed into his wet clothes.

He grabbed his hunting gear, and watched his brother's man make his way towards the raft. Prince William had a choice to make. Would he attack his brother's man without a word? He certainly could get away with such an action. There was no one around.

On the other hand, perhaps Bjorn had simply sent the man to keep an eye on him. There was nothing wrong with that. The Prince did not want to kill an innocent man without provocation. He sat and pondered the question. He watched as his brother's soldier made it to the raft. The man looked around, and removed the tools from the raft. He emptied out the box as the Prince sat back and watched.

Before the Prince could make up his mind, his brother's man pushed the raft into the current. At that moment, the Prince made up his mind and put an arrow into the man's chest. He fell over dead. The Prince knew that he would have to walk the rest of the way.

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Texas Wildfire

Chapter 35

By Dwayne MacInnes

President Ramirez had aged significantly since he took office about a half year before. His hair was now almost completely gray, wrinkles now lined his eyes and brow. Not to mention, he must have lost a good fifty pounds.

Despite all this, Ramirez was happy. The war was finally over. Most people felt that he had handled the war correctly. The United States military was reestablishing order inside Texas. Once the situation stabilized, work would begin on reconstruction. Ramirez stressed that the work be done by the local Texans, especially since most were now unemployed. He also stressed that the military would not harass the locals but instead work with them.

The president had flown into New Mexico to tour the bombed sites in Littleton. The citizens hailed him as a hero and the president, under extremely heavy guard by the Secret Service, mingled and shook many hands. The Secret Service finally convinced Ramirez that it was for his own safety that he should return to the armored limo after touring the sites.

Inside the limo, Ramirez sat next to his old friend and chief of staff, Todd Schneider. "Did you enjoy yourself?" Todd queried as he took some notes on an electronic notebook.

"Yeah, you know what? I did," Ramirez said waving to the crowd outside the limo. "I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders now that the war is over."

"The war may be over, but we still have to pay for it," Todd replied as he looked up from the notebook.

"Yes, I know that, but for now let's enjoy the victory."

"Humph," was all Todd replied as he looked down at the notebook again. "Okay, you have a school play to attend in Santa Fe. You will meet your wife and daughter there tonight."

"Ah, yes, the domestic life. How sweet it is to enjoy it again," Ramirez smiled.

* * * * *

Cobb rode in the back of the taxicab on his way to work. With his new name of Roger Pyle, he found work as a janitor. It was of the utmost importance that he arrive on time.

As the cabby weaved through traffic, Cobb reached into his satchel and pulled out a small ball of plastic. He placed the plastic ball underneath the front seat of the cab. He then pulled out some wet hand wipes and proceeded to wash his hands. Then he slid the bag with the wipes under the driver's seat.

"Did ya hear the president is going to be in town today?" the cabby said making small talk.

"Yeah," Cobb said as the cab pulled up in front of the school. "Say, I would like to have a cab available when I'm done with work." Cobb slipped the cabby an extra $50.

"Yes sir, I will be in the area all night. I will do my best to respond. You can reach me at this number," the cabby replied giving Cobb a business card. "Call me when you are ready."

"Thanks," Cobb said as he entered the school's rear entrance. A Secret Service agent searched Cobb and checked his ID before allowing him to enter. Once inside Cobb headed towards the basement boiler room.

* * * * *

Ramirez sat in the balcony seat with his family enjoying the school play. The children often missed their lines or delivered them in a stilted voice. Still, the president enjoyed every minute of it. He almost forgot that the Secret Service surrounded him and that they were constantly monitoring the halls.

In the basement, Cobb tended the boiler. A Secret Service agent would enter and occasionally watch him work. However, the agent would soon leave and patrol another area of the school.

The Secret Service had gone over the school with a fine-tooth comb looking for explosives and guns. Having found none, they determined that the school was sufficiently safe for the president. They also searched every person who entered the building.

Cobb went over to an old metal washbasin, pulled out some bottles of bleach, and poured them into a mop bucket. He placed an old dirty mop into the bucket and proceeded to mop the floor around the boiler.

A Secret Service agent checked in and watched Cobb mop the floor for a few minutes before returning to his patrol. The smell of bleach was not out of the ordinary for cleaning a school.

Once the agent left, Cobb rummaged through his tool kit and found his small remote. Cobb then reached into his pocket, pulled out his compu-phone, and dialed the cabby's number. After a quick conversation, Cobb disconnected and waited.

It was five minutes later that the cabby called Cobb to let him know that he was waiting outside the school. Cobb picked up the remote and smiled as he pushed the button. Immediately after he depressed the button, the school shook as the cab exploded outside.

Secret Service agents immediately sprung into action and sprinted either outside to the wreckage of the cab burning in the streets or to the defense of the president. In either event, they left Cobb alone in the basement by the boiler.

Cobb then walked over to a large gray plastic garbage can next to the boiler's intake vents and removed the lid. A strong odor of bleach wafted into the air as he poured the contents of the mop bucket into the garbage can that was now half-full of bleach. Next Cobb grabbed several yellow bottles from his cleaning supplies and walked over to the large mop bucket. Putting a wet rag to his mouth and nose Cobb proceeded to pour the bottles of ammonia into the garbage can and watched the fumes as the heating vent hungrily sucked them up.

* * * * *

Secret Service agents instantly surrounded Ramirez and his family once the explosion rocked the building. People in the audience were screaming in fear and the children on stage ran back and forth as teachers and parents tried to reestablish order to the chaos breaking out.

No one notice the strange vapor pouring out of the vents until people started to cough. The balcony above the auditorium soon had the noxious fumes of chlorine gas enveloping it as the heating vent in the balcony blew the deadly gas out.

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Chapter Fifty

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Map of Lakeland

The civil war in Lakeland raged onward. The armies were beginning to weaken, and the sons of King Thorbjorn were becoming fewer. This did not weaken the remaining children's resolve to become ruler of the kingdom. In fact, they felt all the closer to the crown; thus, the battles continued.

However, with each passing battle, Prince Bjorn had a better hold of his position. Even in defeat, he would have fewer enemies. With every death on the other side, there was another person fewer to dispute his claim on the throne. After all, he was the eldest. Even King Thorbjorn named him the heir; therefore, many defaulted to his claim.

From a royalty point of view, he had the strongest position with regard to succession. Most of the lords supported him despite everything. Most of the peasants and soldiers also took his side. After all, heirs have been killing the sitting king for most of recorded history.

Hence, with his recruiting superiority, his army was the biggest. Even after each battle, whether won or lost, he and his enemies weakened. He may have lost some supporters, but his position was still strong. He remained the most powerful.

As the civil war continued, Prince Bjorn never shied away from a battle. He was always looking to take the war to one of his siblings. In this way, the war raged on for months. Every army became weaker and weaker, but eventually Prince Bjorn's army killed the final claimant to the throne.

No one knew exactly what happened. The night before the two armies were to engage in battle, the borther had disappeared. The soldiers searched and searched but could not find him. It was just before daybreak and one of his generals found his body later. Nonetheless, his army was undeterred. They met Prince Bjorn in battle. In fact, they were quite fired up, and pushed the Prince from the field.

For several weeks they continued to battle the Prince's army. After all, they believed that Prince Bjorn had killed their king. They did not want that murderer on the throne. They were out for revenge. Further, the officers would likely face death., so they continued to fight.

Nonetheless, they were without a candidate for king. In addition, they had a leadership problem. They had lost their commander-in-chief. Thus, they had a breakdown in the command structure. They became somewhat disorganized and were beginning to in-fight. In a major battle against Prince Bjorn, defeat came swiftly. Thus, the war ended.

After all the battles, the only person who remained with even a remote claim on the throne was Prince William. Prince Bjorn eliminated the remaining claimants to the throne. He even killed the ones who supported him. To finish the task, Prince Bjorn sent out a party of his best men to search for Prince William. Prince Bjorn wanted Prince William dead. He believed that it was a mistake not to kill him on the previous occasion. He was not going to beat himself up over that.

After a brief celebration to the war's end, Prince Bjorn had begun planning his coronation. However, he felt he had some unfinished business with Princess Angelina. She had a large presence on the boarder. She took in many deserters. Moreover, Prince Bjorn felt confident that he could retake the treaty land from the Princess.

With their victories in the civil war, his troupes were seasoned. Furthermore, they would have the element of surprise. While the Princess was off doing who knows what, he attack would be completely unexpected. With the surprise attack, he felt that he could take care of the Princess before he was crowned. Therefore, he could be crowned the sovereign of a reunited kingdom.

Prince Bjorn marched his army south toward the treaty land. While his army was seasoned, they were exhausted when they arrived at the border. However, the Prince did not wish to waste any time. Therefore, he wanted to attack the refugees without much in the way of preparation.

The Prince and his army marched across the border without opposition. The Lakeland army prepared for battle, and marched into one of the refugee camps. They were astonished to find it empty. Prince Bjorn stood there stunned. Why would it be empty?

At the center of the Lakeland line, the Prince stood. He pondered what could be happening as the sound of battle filtered towards his position from his left flank . One of his commanders yelled It's a trap! He snapped out of his inaction and began barking out orders.

"Squad 2!" he shouted. "Help support the left flank! Squad 1 protect the center! Squad 3 prepare to assist squad 2! Squad 4 protect the center!"

Soldiers in his army began moving to their positions. The second squad moved towards the left flank, and the first squad surrounded the Prince's position. His army created a strong center position. Another wave of fighting broke out on the right flank.

"Squad 2!" Prince Bjorn shouted. "Help support the right flank!"

"But sir," replied the second squad's commander. "We are supporting the left flank. Perhaps squad 3 or 4..."

"Are you disobeying my order?" asked the Prince.

The commander immediately pulled his men off the left flank and went to support the right. The raging battle on the left became closer and closer to the Prince's position. The third squad began engaging the attacking army on the left.

"Squad 1!" the Prince shouted. "Protect the center! Squad 2 protect the left flank!"

Without a word of protest, the second squad disengaged the right flank and moved to the left. Without the support of the second squad, the right flank began to collapse. As they heard the order for the second squad to support their position, they broke and ran. The rout was on.

"Hold the line!" the Prince shouted as the soldiers fighting on the left flank turned and ran.

However, Prince Bjorn's army was surrounded. There was no place for them to turn. They ran into the Prince's position. The only direction open was towards Lakeland, and that was quickly closing.

"No retreating!" shouted the Prince.

However, his army was already running around. They scattered, and many ran back towards Lakeland. The soldiers not protecting the King had stopped fighting and were simply ran around. Any soldier that did not surrender was cut down. The fighting around Prince Bjorn's position intensified. When the fighting became too intense, the first and forth squads abandoned him. His generals and troupes took on the attacking army.

The defending army destroyed Prince Bjorn's left and right flank. They cut off the path of retreat and surrounded Prince Bjorn and his soldiers. Nonetheless, Prince Bjorn refused to surrender. The Prince urged on the fighting.

After several minutes of very intense fighting, Prince Bjorn lied dead on a pile of Lakeland soldiers. In his rush, the Prince lost his life and his kingdom. Dead bodies covered the once peaceful refugee camp. Pools of blood soaked into the ground.

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Texas Wildfire


By Dwayne MacInnes

Terrorist Attack Kills President and 132 others

AP: Santa Fe - The terrorist attack at the Ridgedale Elementary school in Santa Fe, New Mexico yesterday killed President Ramirez, and 132 others. Included in the list of the dead are the first lady, Amanda and their 5-year-old daughter, Renee. The president and his family were in New Mexico to commemorate the victims of the Littleton bomb raid and to celebrate the victory over the New Republic of Texas. The activities included attending a school play in Santa Fe. The exact nature of the attack is still under investigation by the FBI. However, the Secret Service reported that they had completed a thorough search of the school building before the president's arrival and did not turn up any bombs or guns.

What investigators know is that shortly before the chlorine gas attack inside the building, a taxicab exploded in the streets outside the school. It is unknown at this time if there were multiple people involved in the attack or if it was the result of a lone operator. There is speculation that a dissident group from Texas may have been behind the attack.

An investigator who asked to remain anonymous due to the ongoing investigation believes that the chlorine gas originated in the boiler room in the basement. In the basement, investigators found the body of the janitor, Roger Pyle near the boiler. The FBI is looking to the cause of death and as to whether Mr. Pyle may have been a terrorist. A garbage can with a mixture of bleach and ammonia was located underneath the main air intake for the boiler. According to experts, the fans of the boiler would have been sufficient to pump the deadly gas throughout the school

Experts also state that there was enough chlorine gas produced to cover the three stories of the school building and to incapacitate everyone inside before anyone could escape or open a window. Rescue workers had to enter the building using breathing apparatus to pull the bodies of the victims out of the school. The only survivors so far have been three Secret Service agents who were near the front door when the taxi exploded. Two are stable condition and a third is in critical condition at Community Hospital.

Vice President Alexander Lloyd was in Canada for an economic summit meeting with the Prime Minister. On his flight back to Washington, D.C., the vice president underwent a quick swearing in ceremony as the new president. When asked if he would seek reprisals against Texas for the attack if there were a link he commented, "It is too early at this time to start talking about retaliation. It appears at this time that the attack was the action of a single person or a small group. As it stands, President Ramirez did not want any further actions taken against Texas so as to allow its readmission into the United States as smoothly as possible and I intend to follow the same policy."

In the aftermath of the bombings in Littleton last month, President Ramirez's approval rating soared from a dismal 19% to 95% with a 3-point margin of error. There were polls still being conducted gauging the public's opinion of the victory over Texas when the attack took place at Ridgedale Elementary.

The president and the first family will lie in state in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. and already huge crowds of people are lining the streets mourning their deaths. Thousands have been holding vigils outside the White House and leaving cards, small gifts, and burning candles outside the White House gates.

In New Mexico, the victims have been also receiving a similar reaction. People from across the nation have been pouring into the state to attend the funeral services planned for later in the week.

The nation already emotionally tormented by the attacks in Littleton and the war against Texas are now mourning the deaths in the recent school attack. Many people have likened Ramirez's death to those of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Some have pointed out that he had successfully concluded a war and will be the first to have a 52 star flag draped over his casket.

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Abraham Lincoln: President, Statesman, Action-Hero

By Dwayne MacInnes

The silver moon hung low in the night sky above the canopy of trees surrounding the inky black lake. The lunar reflection upon the glassy surface of the lake began to ripple as a long black cylindrical object slowly emerged from its icy depths.

Making a minimum amount of noise, a gaunt face framed by a black beard and large ears that supported the dripping stovepipe hat soon emerged from the lake's depths. A cold, hard look of determination set in the eyes of the man as he slowly walked towards the shore. A long black coat sat upon his lanky frame. A large oilskin bag was over his left shoulder; an old steel axe was in his right hand.

Once out of the lake, the dripping man crept into the woods as he made his way stealthily towards an old mill. It stood by the river that fed the lake. The mill sat upon four large wooden beams that kept it about four feet above the ground. A large water wheel turned by the river creaked nonstop as it powered unseen machinations inside the building.

A well-worn dirt path ran through the woods and ended at the mill's wooden steps. Those steps led up to the mill's entrance. The man stealthily slipped from tree to tree; his soggy boots squishing softly in the still night. He could not hear or see any sentry as he neared the mill. However, he remained cautious.

Suddenly, a small light flashed brilliantly into existence as a guard outside the mill lit a match. He put its burning flame into the bowl of his corncob pipe, which illuminated his middle-aged face. The butternut colored uniform reminded the man sneaking through the woods that he was in enemy territory. A slip up here could mean the end of the war for his country.

The man tightened his grip upon the ash handle of his axe before he set the oilskin bag down. He untied the knot that secured the opening and reached into the bag. From within he withdrew 2 Colt M1861 Navy pistols and one large black six barrel Gatling gun. This gun, instead of a carriage, had a leather sling attached to its frame. He set the large Gatling against a tree and stuffed the pistols into his coat pockets.

Picking up the axe the man left the woods and approached the guard outside the mill's entrance. The guard, too occupied with his late night pipe, at first did not catch the movement of the shadow creeping slowly towards him. However, the snap of small branch under the boot of the man sneaking towards the sentry quickly brought the guard to attention. The guard in a smooth motion picked up his old musket and cocked the hammer as he pointed it towards the man approaching him.

"Who goes thar?" the guard demanded.

"I do," the man stated plainly, as he stepped further into the moonlight.

"My God! Yer, yer, Abe Lincoln!"

"Yes," Lincoln replied as he hefted his axe.

Two more sentries unnoticed by Lincoln crept up behind the president, their rifles aimed squarely at his back.

"Suh, I must ask you to surrender," the sentry ordered.

"Son, that I cannot do."

"We have you surrounded and you are only armed with an old axe."

"Everyone desires to live long, but no one would be old," Lincoln stated as kept the axe head in front of his face with the blade aimed toward the sentry.

"What?" the sentry replied as Lincoln took a step closer.

"I will help with the latter," Lincoln said taking another step closely eying the barrel of the musket.

"Not if I can help it," the sentry replied firing his old musket aimed at the president's head. As if in slow motion, Lincoln watched as fire and smoke erupted from the musket's barrel. He watched as a ball flew towards him. He felt the impact of the led projectile as it made contact with the edge of the steel blade of his axe. The ball split in two, the angle of the axe's edge sent the two halves flying past Lincoln's ears, and into the men behind the president.

Before the bodies of the slain rebel soldiers slumped to the ground, Lincoln with a swift motion tossed the axe forward. The stunned sentry watched in fascination as the blade tumbled through the air end over end before it split his head.

The echoing report of the musket alerted every Johnny Reb in the area that there was danger afoot. Lincoln retreated into the woods and waited. Soon some soldiers in a mixture of gray and butternut uniforms came jogging up the trail. Lincoln picked up the Gatling gun. He placed the frame in the crook of his left arm and slung the sling over his shoulder. His wiry muscles were like steel cables as they strained under the weight. With his right hand, he grabbed the crank.

As the soldiers approached the bodies of their slain comrades, they looked around alert and confused. Before they could determine their next course of action, Lincoln turned the crank. Fire spit from the six black barrels as lead bullets slammed into the bodies of the rebel soldiers. Some soldiers managed to raise their rifles. However, before they could fire, the Gatling gun cut them down. In a matter of half a minute, the bodies of over twenty men lay still upon the ground.

Lincoln next turned the Gatling gun upon the mill. He aimed the weapon at the roof of the structure and slowly lowered his aim as bullets ripped into the wooden frame. The president continued to fire until the hopper was empty and only white smoke emanated from the hot barrels. When he was finished a ragged line of chewed up wood ran down the mill from top to bottom.

Some frightened men ran out of the building in a mad rush. Lincoln, now armed with the two Navy Colts, approached the mill and systematically fired into any man who posed a threat. Most of the men simply ran into the woods fleeing for their lives.

Lincoln calmly climbed the steps and peered into the mill. Inside the building and amongst a number of machines and slain bodies of workers he noticed a large steel monstrosity. It was the feared steam-powered land ironclad. If the rebels ever made any of these in great numbers the tide of war would greatly turn in favor of the Confederacy.

As moonlight filtered through the bullet riddled mill a man in a leather apron stood upon the land ironclad. It was Dr. Higby, a man of great imagination for war vehicles and a threat to the Union cause.

"You will never get away with this," Higby bellowed as he aimed the cannon of the land ironclad at Lincoln. The weakened timbers of the mill's floor creaked and moaned in protest to the strain of supporting the weight of metal war machine.

With a wry smile, Lincoln calmly replied, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Then Lincoln raised a booted foot and slammed it down hard upon the crack that ran the length of the mill. The Gatling gun's bullets created the crack, which weakened the structure's frame. The weakened building moaned in protest as Lincoln jumped backwards the same instance Higby fired the cannon. A large iron ball flew past Lincoln barely missing him and exploded deep in the woods as the mill finally collapsed under the strain of the cannon fire and the weight of the land ironclad.

Soon fire erupted amongst the wooden timbers of the mill and quickly began to consume the wreckage. Lincoln smiling in the firelight repacked the Gatling gun into the oilskin bag and began the journey back to his hot air balloon on the other side of the lake. If the wind was right, he could be back in D.C. as morning broke and none would know he had left the city.

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Recent Comments

  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Christian! I too had a DOS computer. read more
  • Christian: A great story, i remember my first computer with DOS read more
  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
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